Boyd, Montana

Elevation: 4037 FT

Population: 35

County: Carbon

This Northern Pacific Railway stop en route to Red Lodge is home to less than 50 residents. It's a tiny agricultural town livestock fluent in grains and sugar beets, and proudly serves as a trading center for regional farmers.

If you plan to take the granddaddy of scenic drives, the Beartooth Highway (212)—south from I-90, you’ll pass through Boyd. Before arriving in red Lodge Red Lodge to being 65 miles of some of the most beautiful scenery in the country.

Boyd's close to Cooney State Park, a popular recreation spot for boating, swimming, camping and excellent walleye and rainbow trout fishing. Cooney makes a great basecamp (literally) to explore the area. There are five campgrounds with 82 campsites, some with electrical hookups in the Red Lodge and Marshall Cove campgrounds. Camping is less crowded in the fall, by the way. It’s also one of the best season to explore the area, if you’re not planning on a Beartooth Highway road trip (the road’s only open in the summer months).

Stargazers love the dark skies in Cooney. On a clear night, the stars and planets are so dense it’s awe-inspiring. Bring your telescope and a comfy chair and enjoy the show. You’ll be especially lucky if you happen to catch a meteor shower. You’ll definitely be able to see the Milky Way though, and that’s certainly not nothing!

Birders love Cooney, too. Hundreds of species of birds have been identified in the park, including American kestrels, franklin gulls and short-eared owls. The reservoir is a stopping point for migratory birds such as osprey and pelicans during the spring and fall. (Yes, we said pelicans!) Bird walks are popular during the summer months.  

True Story

Another secret Cooney holds? Wind sports. The reservoir gets a good amount of wind and the sailing and kite boarding are exceptional. (You may want to bring your wetsuit come fall!) In the winter, kite skiers and ice sailing are also popular.

Trip tip

Stop at the Boyd Store, a vintage and antique consignment shop for live bait and fishing gear, fishing and hunting licenses, campfire wood, local produce, furs, skulls, knives—your basic Montana necessities and treasures, like local produce, groceries, homemade soups and sandwiches, gifts, fountain soda, penny candy, ice, propane, and, naturally, cold beer.

Live Like a Local

Fish Cooney State Park in October when the reservoir is stocked with 20,000 catchable rainbow trout. Anglers, (including ice fishers) also love the walleye and perch, and once you taste them, you’ll see why—fresh lake fish are divine.

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